IT might be a couple of years since Stanford Collymore Ncube last kicked a ball in the MTN Premier League of Eswatini but his touch to the game is still remembered by many with Young Buffaloes and Eswatini national team midfielder Wandile Skosh Shabangu being the latest to pay his tribute.
Though less involved in the game now, Ncube is still idolised far and wide for the immense skill on the field of play that won him many trophies — carved him an idol for upcoming players and at one moment even made him the highest paid player in the MTN Premier League of Eswatini.
But the question ‘‘who was your idol’’ Ncube has become the common answer, with Skosh adding in his one-on-one interview published by an upcoming soccer magazine Sportscast this week.
“While growing up in Sihhohhweni my father didn’t want me to play football but my passion grew in leaps and bounds because of one player I admired a lot and that helped me convince my father to give me a chance.
“I admired Stanford Collymore Ncube and later played with him. He is now like a brother to me and every now and then we talk, laugh and help each other. He always has something to build me as a football player. I am really blessed to have him as a brother and mentor,” said Shabangu.
A household name while turning out for the now defunct Njube Sundowns, Ncube turned down a prolonged stay at Highlanders in 2006 — a move that many budding football stars then would consider a dream move, breaking new ground by moving to Eswatini.
Ncube, was to later say Highlanders lacked commitment to bring him to the stable early leading to the late Josh Mizha to snatch him away right under their nose.
In an interview with B-Metro Sports, Ncube said as a junior at Bosso his dream was to play for the senior team for longer having passed through their hands and that of New Jack City — a soccer development project run by the Ndlovu brothers Madinda, Peter and the late Adam.
Ncube was to play for Bosso under Methembe Ndlovu between 2005 and first- half of 2006 before relocating to Swaziland where he played for Mbabane Highlanders, Mbabane Swallows, Manzini Wanderers and Moneni Pirates among the top teams.
He does not regret the decision to move to Swaziland but blames respective coaches for not monitoring his career in this country. He literally won every award sweeping the boards of every in-field players’ individual awards.
The Bulawayo-born star, now a Swazi citizen through the permanent residence system, says he would not mind playing one or two seasons before taking up coaching where he is working towards acquiring the Caf C licence.